What Is A Holistic Practitioner?


Holistic Practitioners are holistic healing professionals with a gift in one or more areas of healing. From bodyworkers to homeopaths to hypnotherapists, the term holistic practitioner has become one that is often challenging to describe or understand. Hopefully this article will provide you with some clarity on what a holistic practitioner is and how to find one that meets your individual needs.

Saying holistic practitioner is similar to saying doctor. While there are general practitioners that cross along many paths, most specialize in one or more holistic methods or areas. The main areas of specialization are body-centered therapists, energy-centered therapists, mind-centered therapists, soul and spirit-centered therapists, emotional release therapists, and coaches/counselors. All of these therapists strive to bring a greater quality of life to their clients. That may occur through inner balance, self-empowerment, physical ease, or even emotional confidence.

One thing to realize is that many holistic practitioners work in many areas. In fact, it is usually challenging to limit a practitioner to one area. For example, a hypnotherapist may also be a chakra therapist, a bodyworker could also be a spiritual counselor, etc. Also, since the mind-body-soul connection is just that, connected, wherever you begin, be it in energy work, bodywork, or even the mind, you will find that all of you is affected by the work.

Use this article as a guide to explore the realms of possibilities, rather than limiting your choices to an area.

Body-centered Therapists

Samples of body-centered therapists are bodyworkers, massage therapists, pilates and yoga therapists, rolfing professionals(often termed rolfers), acupressure therapists, myofascial release and sports massage therapists, reflexologists, thai massage therapists, watsu practitioners, feldenkrais and alexander method professionals, and movement therapists (this list is provided to offer an overview as there are at least 50 types of body-centered therapists).

While each body-centered therapist has their own way of working with clients, many use a combination of movement, the breath, and physical pressure (from massage to trigger points) to allow the body to release tension. This release of tension then allows the mind to also find a relaxing state. Sometimes the relaxation state is the goal of the sessions, other times, it is the true starting point.

Energy-centered Therapists

Samples of energy-centered therapists are integrative energy workers, reiki practitioners, healing touch practitioners, breathwork therapists, jin shin do and jin shin jytsu therapists, matrix therapists, applied kinesiologists, orgone therapists, polarity workers, cranial sacral workers, qigong and tai chi masters. Acupuncturists and homeopathy practitioners could also be deemed energy workers.

Energy workers often work with energetic 'maps' of the body. They look at where the energy is stuck, depleted or overtaxed in the body and work with the individual to bring a level of balance to the body's energetic system. This balance also affects the mind and the overall body, enhancing ones state of being on many levels.

Mind-centered Therapists

Samples of mind-centered therapists are hypnotherapists, neuro-linguistic programming practitioners (NLP), integrative release therapists(IRT), regression therapists and metaphysicians.

Mind-centered therapists look at the structures of one's belief systems and how they may be conflicting with and/or not supporting a client's quality of life. Mind-centered therapists often find the original cause of what the stuck states are and work with the unconscious mind to reframe limiting patterns and beliefs which provide greater resources and confidence for the client to live the life they desire.

Soul and Spirit-centered Therapists

Samples of soul and spirit-centered therapists are shamans, angelic masters, psychic mediums,intuitive guides and spiritual counselors(who would also fall into the coaching/counseling category).

Soul and spirit-centered therapists work with clients in a variety of ways. A shaman may work with a client using soul retrieval to regain a part of their soul that has been 'lost' due to trauma. A psychic may offer an individual information on what will happen on their current path if they don't make changes. An intuitive may assist a client in talking with a deceased loved one. As with the other categories, there are many ways soul and spirit-centered therapists work with their clients.

Emotional Release Therapists

Samples of emotional release therapists are integrative release therapists, somato-emotional therapists, psych-k therapists and amanae therapists.

Emotional release therapists work with patterns of emotions that are stuck in the body/mind and assist a client in moving through these blocks into greater joy and emotional freedom. Many other therapies, including neuro-linguistic programming, yoga, shamanic work and energy work employ emotional release methodologies.

Holistic Coaches and Counselors

Samples of coaches and counselors are life coaches, empowerment coaches, spiritual and intuitive counselors, holistic psychologists, and nutritional counselors.

Coaches and counselors assist clients in designing and manifesting the life, career, business and health situations that they truly desire. A holistic coach or counselor often works with a client 1-4x per month setting goals, opening belief systems and partnering with the client to provide the support they need to move forward in their lives.

As you can see, the term holistic practitioner can be used to mean a holistic profession trained in any number of areas. Usually, a holistic practitioner will list their areas of expertise in any of their advertising to assist you in determining if they would be a fit for your unique situation.

For information on locating a holistic practitioner, please see my article on 'Choosing a Holistic Practitioner' or see Holistic Hometown (www.HolisticHometown.com) for holistic resources in your hometown, and beyond.

Blessings on your journey.

Jenifer Shapiro, MBA, CHT, CNLP, CYT, CHC, IRT is a Professional Coach, Holistic Entrepreneur Coach, Web Designer, and Holistic Practitioner (professionally trained in Yoga, Shamanism/Soul Retrieval, Meditation, Hypnotherapy, NLP and Coaching) with 2 successful holistic businesses. She is the founder of Holistic Hometown, Holistic University and The Empowerment Centre, and the consultant for various holistic entrepreneurs, local colleges, and wellness centers. Her work has been televised and she currently teaches and consults with clients around the U.S. Her private practice is in Paoli, PA.


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